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Rattle and Hum

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Editors’ Notes

Rattle and Hum represents a modest stroke for U2, which, true to the Irish band’s enormous ego and ambition, means it’s still a sprawling, overwhelming piece of work. A double album and the soundtrack to the film, Rattle and Hum features guest spots from Bob Dylan (who co-wrote “Love Rescue Me”), B.B. King (at Sun Studios in Memphis for “When Loves Comes to Town”), the Memphis horns (for “Angel of Harlem,” a tribute to Billie Holiday), a series of covers (the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter,” John Lennon’s “God” updated as “God Part II,” Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”) and essential U2 tracks cut live (“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “Pride (In the Name of Love)”) during The Joshua Tree tour that make this a potpourri of rock history updated as the band sees fit. The best moments, however, are often the simplest. The Edge’s unexpected turn at the mic for “Van Diemen’s Land,” the Brian-Eno keyboard-led impressionism of “Heartland,” Van Dyke Parks’ string arrangement finishing off “All I Want Is You” represent U2’s greatest strengths of love, inclusion and empathy.

Customer Reviews

The Bhoys Wide Awake in America

This, the successor to one of rock music's most hearalded albums ever, The Joshua Tree, may have never had a chance. The criticism it has received is, for the most part, undeserved I think. The problem here was in the expectations. With the world whipped into a frenzy by Joshua Tree and expecting Bono and the boys to create musical miracles and take them even higher, the band made a much different album. Rattle & Hum and the accompanying movie are a chronicle of the American Joshua Tree tour. The songs were inspired and written during the time they were touring in the states. These new songs and the live songs from J.T. are all of a common theme- America. The USA through the eyes of these four Irish rock missionaries coming to spread their word and worship those who had come before them. America is a magical place to the Irish and this album, I think, is U2's vacation journal and home movie much in the way we might keep a diary and shoot a video on a summer trip to Europe. Rattle & Hum was never meant to be an inventive landmark follow-up to The Joshua Tree (that was their next album Achtung Baby) it was a more personal post card from the boys while on holiday in America. When looked at as such, I think it's remarkable, and aside from all that I just love the songs. Desire, Angel of Harlem, When Love Comes to Town, All I Want Is You...they're all fantastic and stand among the best work U2 will ever do. Give 'em a listen.

Somewhat overlooked, but has some issues

Overall Rattle and Hum isn't bad, but its function as the soundtrack for the movie of the same name hurts its strength as an album. There are 9 studio tracks on here and 6 live tracks, as well as the really out-of-place "Freedom for My People," and basically I'll review the studio tracks in detail. The live tracks are good for the most part, including the covers of Helter Skelter and All Along the Watchtower, Bono goes on a somewhat random rant during Silver and Gold, the live I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For isn't particularly good, and the live cuts of Pride and Bullet the Blue Sky are strong. now the studio tracks Van Diemen's Land: Pretty much a solo song from The Edge, slow and soothing, but not really outstanding - 7.5/10 Desire: Probably the best-known song from the album, a hard U2 classic still having notability today - 9/10 Hawkmoon 269: Cool bluesy song with a great section of Bono screaming "Like a ____ needs ____" and inserting various anecdotes - 8.5/10 Angel of Harlem: Another U2 classic with a bluesy feel, still is played occasionally 8.5/10 Love Rescue Me: Collaboration with Bob Dylan, I don't think its particularly great but thats just my opinion, drags on a bit - 7.5/10 When Love Comes to Town: Ok, here is by far the most blues-like song on the album, U2 and B.B. King rock the music world with this one - 9/10 Heartland: Obviously about America, which had a heavy influence on this album, a Joshua Tree outtake, but a good one at that - 8/10 God Part 2: Well even though I like U2 far more than The Beatles (I do like them too, but nobody is close to U2 for me) I think this song is a case of Bono being a little over-confident, but it has cool music - 8/10 All I Want Is You: Excellent closing song to any album, beautiful love song and has a sad feeling to it. Ends the album with a nice 3-minute strings instrumental section, in my Top 3 of all U2 songs - 9.5/10 None of the songs here are bad (I mean that as an adjective, although none of them do equal U2's song 'Bad') but the strange structure and idea of having a combination of studio and live songs hurts the album as a whole and makes it less appealing to the general public, but its still held high by the U2 community

U2 is the best band in the world!

This album is one of their better albums, the lyrics and the vocals are great. I would recommend this to any U2 fan out there.

Biography

Formed: 1976 in Dublin, Ireland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Through a combination of zealous righteousness and post-punk experimentalism, U2 became one of the most popular rock & roll bands of the '80s. They were rock & roll crusaders during an era of synthesized pop and heavy metal, equally known for their sweeping sound as for their grandiose statements about politics and religion. The Edge provided the group with a signature sound by creating sweeping sonic landscapes with his heavily processed, echoed guitars. Though the Edge's style wasn't conventional,...
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